It’s International Women’s Day and to celebrate, the Arctic Bee team decided to showcase some of our female entrepreneurs i.e. those businesses we provide digital marketing agencies for that are headed by women.
Think again. It was only during our chat about which businesses to choose, we struggled to come up a list, finding only six businesses from over a hundred that are actually headed by women. In fact whilst some of our businesses have women working in key roles, many of the businesses we work with have a board of directors comprised entirely of men.
Now, this post isn’t against men – let me make that clear. As a female CEO myself I’m happy to work with men and women, but this does highlight the gap we have in the business world and how far we still need to go before it is truly representative.
LinkedIn statistics for 2022 show us that LinkedIn is more popular with men accounting for 57% of all users worldwide (Kinsta, 2022). This doesn’t tell us how many companies are actually led by women, however, and I have noticed that in searches for ‘entrepreneur’, ‘CEO’ and ‘director’ around 90% of my search results are men.
And it’s not just business. In politics we are perhaps more representative than we have ever been but there is still a divide with only five European countries currently having a female head of state and in the current political climate, threats of nuclear annihilation seem to hinge on the power struggle between a small group of men that care nothing for the sanctity of human life. Even on a domestic level woman are still not safe walking the streets and it turns out that even our police force, endemic with misogyny, are not to be trusted.
So where do we go from here? In the late nineties I was Sabbatical Women’s Officer at Kent University and National Women’s Officer for the Mature Students’ Union and I remember campaigning for women’s safety to be taken seriously, for better street lighting and more effective support when women on campus were facing issues of domestic or sexual violence. I started my own business in 2003 and at the time was the only woman I knew personally who was working in the field of digital marketing. Almost twenty years later I question that we are much further on.
So what is the answer?
I am a great believer that change comes from within. A female led campaign has led to a ruling that women can breastfeed in Parliament. The #MeToo movement was led by women. Women are starting to break the glass ceiling and we have better representation in Parliament.
It starts with us.
So this international women’s day, I challenge you:
Look at your LinkedIn profile. If you created your own company, have you had the confidence to call yourself a ‘CEO’, ‘Entrepreneur’ or ‘Director?
Are you working for a company where the board is not representative? Could you be the next female Director or CEO they so desperately need?
When you open a newspaper and read reports of women accusing high profile figures of sexual abuse or violence do you judge? Do you automatically blame the woman who left the Royal Family with her husband for their decision? Do you assume that a woman trapped in a violent relationship is there through choice without coercion and control? Challenge your own biases.
Be the change that you want to see in the world!